Reform UK unveil major Stamp Duty cuts

Nigel Farage’s Reform UK has promised to eliminate Stamp Duty for properties worth less than £750,000 and abolish Inheritance Tax on estates valued under £2 million. Similarly, the Tories recently announced plans to remove Stamp Duty for all first-time buyers on properties up to £465,000.

Reform UK’s rising popularity and manifesto
With Reform UK gaining traction in the polls, its proposed policies are drawing increased scrutiny. The party recently released a draft manifesto featuring these tax-cutting measures. After Farage announced his intention to lead the party and stand in the upcoming election, a YouGov poll for Sky News revealed that Reform UK is just two points behind the Conservatives. The poll showed Labour at 40%, the Conservatives at 19%, Reform UK at 17%, the Liberal Democrats at 10%, and the Greens at 7%.

Support for stamp duty cuts
Consumer champion Martin Lewis recently endorsed the idea of cutting Stamp Duty for downsizers. On his podcast, he called it “a very, very clever plan” that could help free up much-needed housing for families. Currently, Stamp Duty is charged at 5% for properties priced between £250,001 and £925,000, starts at £425,000 for first-time buyers, and rises to 12% for properties exceeding £1.5 million.

Political promises and challenges
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has challenged Labour to match the Conservatives’ pledge not to increase Capital Gains Tax, Stamp Duty, or the number of council tax bands. He also revealed the Conservatives’ latest plan to abolish Stamp Duty for first-time buyers. Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves faces pressure to increase Capital Gains Tax to fund public services such as the NHS, social care, and education. Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey has not ruled out the possibility of Labour raising property taxes.

Expert opinions on the proposed reforms
Nick Sanderson, CEO of Audley Group, criticised the focus on first-time buyers, stating, “Permanently cutting stamp duty for FTBs isn’t the innovative reform that is needed. And it serves as a reminder of policymakers’ blinkered focus on one end of that housing ladder. Which is wrong and disappointing.”

Sanderson advocates for broader stamp duty reform to stimulate movement at the top of the market, thereby freeing up existing housing stock. He also stressed the need for age-specific properties: “A minimum of 50,000 new units are needed every year to keep up with the ever-rising demands of the ageing population, and incentivising their move also helps those lower down the ladder.”

A pivotal moment for the housing market
As the election approaches, the proposed changes to stamp duty and property taxes could significantly reshape the housing market. Both first-time buyers and seasoned investors will be closely watching to see how these policies evolve. For landlords, understanding these potential changes is crucial, as they could impact investment strategies and property values. The upcoming election presents a pivotal moment for housing policy in the UK, with the potential to bring about substantial changes to benefit both homeowners and renters. The hope is that whichever party takes power will implement reforms that address the needs of the entire housing ladder, from first-time buyers to downsizers, ensuring a balanced and fair market for all.